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“Mothers, wives, daughters, citizens. Your life is more important than beauty.” That was the message last month from Dilian Francisca Toro, governor of southern Colombia’s Valle del Cauca region, which includes the city of Cali. She made her plea in a televised statement following the death of a young woman after apparently routine plastic surgery.
On 11 September, Gladys Gallego Obando, a 35-year-old beautician, was the ninth woman to die following surgery in the city this year, according to local newspaper El País Cali.
As more and more Colombian women seek to change their bodies through artificial means, cowboy operators are flourishing, corners are being cut and women are dying. This is a boom with a very dark side indeed.
The Mediplastic clinic, where Gallego Obando had her operation, has since been shut by the health authorities. An inspection the day after the ill-fated operation revealed it did not have adequate health and safety procedures in place, said a spokeswoman for the governor.